Recently I had the great honor to be the keynote speaker at the MLive 2022 Women’s Summit in Detroit, MI. It was a wonderful experience and a true joy to be surrounded by a room full of bright, energized women entrepreneurs eager to learn and achieve and break down barriers in their lives, both professionally and personally. The title of my talk was "Leading Forward," because I feel that is so important today — encouraging women leaders, particularly women in business, to boldly pursue the best that they can be. You can watch and listen to my address here.
I am thrilled and honored that my book, Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business, was recently given the bronze award for Best Women in Business Book by Axiom Business Book Awards. (My first book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, also won Axiom's bronze award.) Presented in 23 business categories, these prestigious and competitive awards serve as the premier list to help readers discover new and innovative works, says Axiom. Previous medalists include Nobel laureate Robert Shiller, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. So I'm in good company.
11,000 business books are published each year. Why was mine honored?
Corporations have largely remained silent since the leak of a draft opinion suggesting that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The potential loss of what's been a constitutional right for nearly half a century has divided the country and created an uproar nationwide. However, major companies, with some exceptions, have yet to issue any statements on the matter. In some cases, major institutions have even declined comment. -Fox Business
When asked by Fox Business to comment on the current social upheaval surrounding the potential loss of abortion rights for its article, "How corporate leaders should address Roe v. Wade, according to experts," my response was this: "During times of crisis and change, corporate executives face the most important tests of their skills as thoughtful, influential leaders. However, facing the impending challenge of Roe v. Wade, they have few options, as their organizations and their clients are closely watching their responses."
More and more, business leaders are beginning to understand the value of corporate anthropologists, and more importantly, how they can help people at all levels of a company better "see, feel and think" about their business with fresh eyes. As a corporate anthropologist myself, I preach that the importance of anthropology lies in its ability to help people pause, step out and look at the way they have always done things in new ways, and then make these new ways happen. In my recent article in BusinessNewsDaily, I had the chance to expand on this ethnographic approach to business. Perhaps this could help you and your company?
Corporate anthropology is about adaptation
I recently had the very great pleasure to be interviewed by Shannon LaNier on the Morning Dose for CW39 Houston. He wanted to know all about my book, "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights," what an anthropologist does, how Simon Associates Management Consultants helps companies off the brink so they can soar, how to help an individual or an entire company change...all the things I love talking about. Truly delightful.
Here's a quick synopsis of what we discussed:
In March of this year, 2019, I made a presentation to the Society for Applied Anthropology entitled "Anthropology Applications for Business." It was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to talk about my two favorite topics—anthropology and business—and share how we at SAMC apply anthropology to our corporate, business, healthcare and non-profit clients.
I'll summarize the key points here but you can watch and listen to the presentation in its entirety by clicking on the image below.
Change creates pain in the brain
Companies come to us when they are in a crisis or see one coming. In fact, we've built our business around helping stalled organizations change. As we know from the neurosciences, our brains hate change, they fight it. That's why at SAMC, we've developed an anthropological approach which enables us to evaluate how organizations operate today (obstinate brains and all) so we can better help them change for the future.
At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we have been working with a wide range of colleges on Blue Ocean Strategy®, encouraging long-established institutions to step back and look at themselves with fresh eyes.
Why must they do this, and why now? Because times are changing. Colleges, universities, trade schools and all other educational institutions are competing for a smaller and smaller base of high school graduates seeking a college education. In fact, traditional high school graduates now represent only 20% of college student bodies, with the other 80% filled by post-traditional students from all walks of life.
The challenge in higher education: to create innovative solutions that better match the needs of students
As many of you know, two things I love talking about are change and anthropology, so it was great fun to be interviewed by Acquisition International recently because I got to talk about both! (You can read the article here.)
The interview focused on how anthropology, when applied to business, can successfully drive change and spur growth by showing organizations how to "see, feel and think" with fresh eyes. By using the tools and methods of observational anthropology, companies are suddenly able to "see" opportunities they may have missed, the proverbial acres of diamonds that are all around them, waiting to be seized upon.
What about you? Are you missing opportunities right in front of you?
"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." John F. Kennedy
This time of year is when we at SAMC reflect on the past and prepare for the future. It is also a time to express our appreciation and gratitude for successes, as well as what we have tried and may not have achieved.
Reflecting on gratitude and expressing it is as essential to people's personal lives as it is to their businesses and careers. In fact, those who focus on expressing their gratitude tell us that it repays them in spades. So why don't we all do it?
Gratitude: what does that really mean?
While the terms gratitude and appreciation may seem interchangeable, there are actually some subtle differences. While appreciation is a way of recognizing a job well done, gratitude is more personal. It expresses thanks for a benefit one has received.
As we work with companies and not-for-profits, we often find that people seem to have a hard time saying a simple "thank you" to someone. We're not talking about an award or special recognition for completing a task, just a simple "Hey, thanks for doing that so well. I truly appreciate it."
It's rare to hear business leaders say how grateful they are for their team, their clients or their successful company. Why is this?
There's one exception: a long-term client of ours whom we just adore, in large part because they are always expressing their gratitude to us (their consultants), their staff and their clients. As we receive their thanks and hear the same from their staff, we believe that their success is mainly due to this feeling of and consistent expression of gratitude.
Today's blog is about this gift of gratitude: what is it, why you and your company should embrace it, and how it will make you and those around you smile and shine. Most of all, it is about how to build an organizational culture that goes beyond the functional things that have to be done and creates an entirely new perspective on the people getting it done. Along the way, it also shines a light on how company culture really matters.
Why should we worry about appreciating others and expressing our gratefulness or gratitude?
I often get calls from HR directors who say, "Help! I have a new CEO and he wants me to change the culture." And so I ask, "What's the problem?" And the HR person will say, "I don't really know what our culture is." And my answer to that is, "Well, what would the new CEO like it to become?" And they’ll say, "I'm not sure, but it isn't working so a new culture is what we need." Typically, they just want something different but they don't really know where they're going or how to get there. And they're not alone.
Many clients come to us because the times are changing and they know they have to adapt but they don't know how.
Change is something people hate. The brain hates it. The culture hates it. Organizations hate it. But as corporate anthropologists, we are convinced that what works—yes, really works—to successfully change an organization are the methods, tools and techniques of anthropology.
Over and over again, we find that high-performing organizations thrive when they unleash the talent, passion and potential of their people. That has everything to do with building a better culture, and changing a culture for the better is what corporate anthropology is all about.
To explain the kind of work we do at SAMC to help organizations change, I recently produced this webinar. It will help you understand the pain and challenges of change and why we just hate to do it. Then it will take you through the building blocks needed to change people. I'll touch on a few key concepts here in this blog but to get the full story, you really need to watch the webinar. Just click on the graphic below.
To read the full transcript of the webinar, click here.